The High Altar
The Fifth Sunday in Lent marks the beginning of Passiontide. The proposed 1928 Prayer Book said today was ‘commonly called Passion Sunday’ - but that title has never been official in the Church of England. In the Roman Catholic Church Passion Sunday is another – or part – of the name for Palm Sunday (Dominica in Palmis de Passione Domini). By tradition the crosses and images in the church are now veiled with purple cloth until after the Good Friday Liturgy. The custom seems to have developed from the former Gospel reading for today - John 8:46-59: 'Jesus autem abscondit se' – ‘but Jesus hid himself’ (v.59).
The Lady Chapel
The Credence Table
The veiling reminds us:
Jesus hid his identity from those who opposed him (the ‘Pharisees’); his divinity was hidden during the time of his suffering (the ‘Passion’) when he fully entered into our human pain; our own suffering may be hidden but is known to God and will be rewarded.